OfficeGuru Racing placed Marc Pritzen at the head of the overall standings in the Takealot Tour of Good Hope when they won the third-stage team time-trial in the Cape Winelands today.
With two stages left in South Africa’s premier road cycle race, Pritzen will have a 32-second lead over his rivals after the 26.5km leg which finished at Boland Landbouskool just outside Paarl.
Before today, all the leading riders had the same time after two sprint finishes, but OfficeGuru seized the lead with a time of 34:09.
They were followed by TEG Procycling (34:41) and Team Enza (34:56).
Pritzen heads the overall standings on 4:31:30, the same time as team-mates Dylan Girdlestone, Travis Barrett and Alex Worsdale.
Senior team rider Girdlestone said they overcame some hiccups to produce a smooth ride on a tough course.
“Communication between us was the key and we were able to negotiate the route fairly smoothly and took all four of our GC contenders across the line.
“We did a recon of the route last week so we knew where to push hard and we also kept in mind the possibility of facing windy conditions.”
Girdlestone said the outfit was in a good space with two stages to go, but realised there were some challenges ahead, with tomorrow’s queen stage of 127km looming large.
In the women’s race, Poland’s Maja Wloszczowska won her second stage in a row, finishing the route in 40:44, half a minute ahead of Kross Fit Racing colleague Ariane Luthi.
It meant Wloszczowska will take a lead of 26 seconds into tomorrow’s queen stage, one which should suit her strong climbing ability.
Defending champion Luthi was second on the time-trial podium in 41:16, followed by Liezel Jordaan.
The same three riders head the general classification, with Jordaan five seconds behind Luthi.
Wloszczowska was delighted to take another stage win, even if she said a time-trial for her was just “pain, pain and more pain”.
“I was trying to keep a steady pace and had the advantage of starting last so I could see the girls in front of me and it was motivation to try to close the gap a bit.”